Great white jumps on to research boat
The 1,100-pound great white shark sits in the stern of a South African research boat.
July 20th, 2011
01:15 PM ET

Great white jumps on to research boat

Shark researchers in South Africa didn't have to go far Tuesday to find a specimen - a 10-foot great white shark leaped into the back of their boat. And rather than a story of the big one that got away, this is a story of a big one they couldn't get rid of.

The boat, from Ocean's Research in Mossel Bay on South Africa's southern coast between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, was chumming in the waters around Seal Island and monitoring the activity of four sharks as part of an ongoing study, researchers reported on their blog.

“Next thing I know I hear a splash, and see a white shark breach out of the water from the side of the boat hovering, literally, over the crewmember who was chumming on the boat's port side,” field specialist Dorien Schroder wrote on the blog. He pulled the crewmember to safety while others jumped out of the way of the 1,100-pound shark.

Schroder said the shark landed with only half of its body on the boat, and the crew hoped it would slide off. This shark, however, wanted to hang around.

The shark thrashed about and became stuck in a 5-by-6.5-foot area on the stern of the boat, cutting the vessel's fuel lines in the process.

Schroder's crew on the Cheetah radioed for help from other researchers aboard the boat Laminade. Schroder poured water on the shark's gills to keep it alive as they waited 15 minutes for help to arrive. Researchers then tied a rope around the shark's tail and tried to use the Laminade to pull it off the Cheetah to no avail.

After the Laminade towed the Cheetah back to port, a water hose was inserted into the shark's mouth to keep it alive as a fishing boat used its crane to lift the animal by its tail and drop it in the harbor.

Shark tale over, right? Not quite.

About a half hour later, the researchers found the shark beached on a small area in the harbor.

Two researchers, Enrico Gennari and Ryan Johnson, tried to walk the animal into deeper water. The shark was having none of it, but the researchers weren't about to give up.

The attached ropes from their boat to the shark's tail and pectoral fins, tilted its head up so its gills could work properly, and towed it about a half-mile outside the harbor, where the shark regained strength and swam away.

Researchers were satisfied.

"It is impossible to predict everything that can happen," they said on the blog. "What is important is how you respond to such situation. No one was injured and the shark survived, this is a credit to our team, the port authorities and members of the community who assisted."

And they do have a whale of a shark story to tell their kids.

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Filed under: Animals • Sharks • South Africa
soundoff (343 Responses)
  1. Nur Hussein

    I think they're going to need a bigger boat.

    July 22, 2011 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
    • astuartgirl


      July 25, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Monica

      My thoughts exactly – LOVE IT!

      July 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJF


      July 25, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Redumblican

    Can't a shark just commit suicide without human meddling? Twice!

    July 22, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gillian

    I don't know where I'm supposed to post this, but there are several errors in this blog. First off they referred to Dorien Schroder as a "he" when in fact Dorien is female. Also, it is written that the other research boat's name is "Laminade" when it is actually "Lamnidae" (yes like the family of sharks). Hopefully this can be fixed.

    July 22, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan G

      Please don't tell me that the other vessel is actually "Cheetos".

      July 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • NMGrrL

      Thanks for your corrections. I wondered about "Laminade" right off, but just thought Dorien spelled with an "e" might be parents getting creative, as they are wont to do. That Dorien is female explains everything; that the assumption was made that Dorien is male underscores how far women still have to go before achieving gender parity.

      July 27, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tim

    Leave the sharks alone. Research in this case is just another name for human meddling.

    July 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      How exactly does one leave a shark alone after it jumps into your boat? Just jump out of the boat and leave it for the shark, since he's already on board?

      July 26, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lego

    i betcha this'll be on shark week

    July 23, 2011 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ron Willison

    And the shark said.. Pick me, Pick me. I want to be studied.

    July 24, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ana Bahana

    Well this story jumped the shark, or rather the shark jumped the.. um... nah, I got nuthin'

    July 25, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. FU

    Another great white that wants to leave africa...

    July 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jones foyer

    "Onto," not, "on to," is the proper way of writing the headline.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Yeah.

      Shut the hell up

      July 28, 2011 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. C to the J

    He thought it was the line to get a frickin' laserbeam attached to his head.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. NMGrrL

    Maybe the shark went for the chum bucket and missed? Anyway, think of the story the SHARK has at the end of the day...

    July 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Yeah.

    "And they do have a whale of a shark story to tell their kids." Wow..pathetic. absolutely pathetic.

    July 28, 2011 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. infonomics

    Update. Update. Lawyer gets chummy with new clients.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dude

    They need a bigger boat.

    August 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ben G.

    Shark: "I'M ON A BOAT!"

    August 19, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
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